The gay dating scene in China has gone mobile, and leading the charge is the men's dating app Blued, which currently has about 15 million users and is valued at about $300 million.
Blued recently got $30 million from DCM Ventures and other investors, which brings it to its current value. However, sources indicate the company may be worth slightly less. Still, Blued is one of many companies changing the way people date and interact with one another, which has proved to be lucrative.
Dating apps catering to the gay community have gained popularity in recent years with such apps as Grindr. But U.S.-based Grindr has 6 million users worldwide, less than half that of Blued. In a conservative nation like China, homosexuality is still stigmatized and was illegal until 1997. In China, Blued has become a safe way for gay singles to interact.
“People [in China] are more in the closet and less open about it, but the beautiful thing about the smartphone is that it’s a private device,” DCM Ventures co-founder and general partner David Chao told the Wall Street Journal. “Having a very private phone and being able to communicate with the gay community is a dream come true.”
With its new capital, Blued is looking to expand to markets outside of China and to offer advertising, premium pay services and e-commerce services for the gay community. Chao said the company has ambitions of going public in the future, noting that going public in a more open country like the U.S. could help the app be seen as mainstream.